With Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth instalment in the Underworld franchise, having now been released we Snooty Ushers take a look back at each leather clad entry and rank them top to bottom.
Ranking features is usually a fun thing to do, but we can all agree Underworld is not a franchise brimming with exceptional films. So how did we rank the five films in the action horror series led by Kate Beckinsale? Find out below.
5. Underworld: Blood Wars (2017)
The most recent addition to the franchise is one that suffers badly from fatigue, and a one that easily demonstrates the side effects of the studio machine churning out sequels. The mythology is built upon slightly but the story is garbage. The acting isn’t bad, Lara Pulver makes for a wicked scheming vampire and Kate Beckinsale is an admirable lead but the film obviously has no strength in depth. Also, at what point will the vampires just get on amongst themselves, they’re so inherently power mad it’s a wonder they survived this long even without the lycan threat. Simply a sanitised and poorly developed film.
4. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)
Proving most prequels are nothing more than a bore was Underworld: Rise of the Lycans using a story that was explained as much as it needed to be in the very first film. Kate Beckinsale left a gaping hole that was only half filled with Rhona Mitra’s casting. Regardless, the heart of Underworld was now gone and you can’t ignore it. Michael Sheen tries his best, as does Bill Nighy, but finale aside the third instalment in the franchise is a bit of dull affair that we already know the story to. Mind you there are some good action scenes, and more Michael Sheen is good for everyone.
3. Underworld (2003)
I recently sat down and watched Underworld again for the first time in more than a few years for one of our Re-Viewed pieces. I never thought it was much when I first saw it, and I think even less of it now. The acting outside of 3 core leads was bland, and the love story between Michael and Selene was built on nothing. For a film involving vampires and werewolves there was too much shooting and not enough monster action. When the action does kick into gear it’s not all that interesting to watch because it’s just people shooting one another, short whip fight aside. The only thing keeping this film from being rock bottom is the mythology the story was built upon, which was wholly more interesting than the main story itself and the only reason a franchise has been built from it.
2. Underworld: Evolution (2006)
The issues present in Underworld were very much rectified in its sequel Underworld: Evolution. The myriad of soldiers with special bullets were gone and replaced with monsters and horror. Rather than scheming vampires vying for control, we follow the first vampire Marcus rampage through old buildings until he can release his monstrous lycan brother William from imprisonment. Marcus spends most of the film in his grotesque vampire form, and happily rips people to shreds on his quest; we even see vampires biting people! even if it is just their own kind. Admittedly the story is over developed and unnecessarily convoluted, but it was the first entry in the franchise to actually feel like a horror film.
1. Underworld: Awakening (2012)
Underworld: Awakening is inherently silly, but for one reason or another it is one I thoroughly enjoyed more than previous entries. Maybe it was the IMAX effect, maybe it was the return of Kate Beckinsale, or maybe it was the monstrous “Super-Lycan” Quint who just tore shit up. But seriously, compensating the lack of emotional depth or story were the little quirks they added into proceedings that mixed things up a little. The Lycan that goes hulk mode is just one of them, some Lycans have turned feral in order to survive, and we have a futuristic setting where humans have only went and blooming cleansed the vampire and lycan races. In other words they made a bit of effort this time furthering the overall world these characters are set in. Much like the first sequel Underworld: Evolution the fourth outing feels like a horror film as apposed to teeny action flick, and when you welcome Charles Dance and Stephen Rea into any film it adds a certain weight to proceedings; even if it’s campy fare.
What is your favourite Underworld film? Do you even have one?